Things My Mother Did in the 1970s That Would Never Be Allowed Today

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With a world of information at our fingertips, the ability to share our lives in real time, and the freedom to air our opinions with the click of a button, we’ve made many advances in variety of areas, including child-rearing.

We’re also living in a time that probably obsesses a bit much about what-ifs and random one-offs. An isolated horror story of an occurrence will be plastered across the internet in a matter of hours — providing valuable information, yes, but for those who are prone to worrying, it only fuels their neuroses.

And let’s be honest: People have been raising kids without modern conveniences since — well, since the beginning.

But some of the tactics you or your parents used would probably be lambasted if the online world saw them in action these days. Here are eight old-school practices that have fallen by the wayside.

1) Teething Troubles: The baby’s crying because their teeth are coming in. What do you do? Some popular choices have been to give them a frozen washcloth to gum on, chilled pacifiers, or massaging their gums.

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But some enterprising person decided that whiskey rubbed on the gums would ease the pain (and going further back, laudanum *shudder*). Some have extended this to vanilla extract as well, and some people have completely misunderstood and put alcohol in their baby’s bottle.

2) No car seat? No problem. There were no car seats, no rules about rear-facing or forward-facing. There were laps, and babies got plopped on laps and held on.

You see this every once in a while, and it usually elicits some sort of sharp reprimand from viewers.

3) Sit wherever you want! Babies in the front seat? Sure! Without a car seat? Why not! No need to wait until the kids hit 12 or 13 to let them call shotgun.

4) Underage driving. Whether you reached across from the passenger side and steered the car, or sat on a parent’s lap while they made sure you were doing okay, or sat by yourself, driving young used to be a thing.

Every once in a while you’ll see a story where a kid manages to start a car and go on a joy ride by themselves, so that ability is still there! Dangerous, but present.

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5) Playing without supervision. This is a big one, and one that people are still arguing about today. When are kids old enough to walk by themselves to the nearby park? When can they take the family dog for a walk around the block without having the cops called on them?

It used to be that kids would be kicked out of the house and had to fend for themselves until dinner time. Were there accidents and mishaps? Sure. But did that always happen? Nope.

6) Creepy crawlies were cool. Whatever you could find and catch could stay in a jar, or a box, or a hand, until it was released or met an untimely demise. Now, most people are worried about germs and the general “ick” factor, and quickly slap bugs and other critters out of their kids’ hands.

7) Who needs helmets? If you had a mom who believed she could get through your thick skull to protect it by constantly reminding you to wear your helmet, you may not fall into this category.

But the temptation to let the wind play through your hair as you terrorize the neighborhood from the back of a bike is just so strong. That world is nearly lost by now, but it’s a fond memory for many adults today.

8) Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without: Clothes and items just aren’t made to last anymore, but back in the day your mom would definitely patch something up rather than throw it away.

Tear a huge hole in the knee of your pants? Patch! Buttons fell off? Five minutes later they’re back. Clothes were fixed, not tossed, for such minor inconveniences.

Do you remember anything else you or your parents did that would seem crazy by today’s standards?

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking